Rammstein 7: “The West continues to support Ukraine’s bedrock right to defend itself,” Lloyd Austin says

November 17,2022 1232
Rammstein 7: “The West continues to support Ukraine’s bedrock right to defend itself,” Lloyd Austin says

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley held a news conference Wednesday in the wake of the seventh meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (so-called Rammstein 7), called by Austin “another highly successful session,” according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

The key takeaways from the news conference in terms of the pledged Western military aid to Ukraine can be summarized as follows:

  • Spain to send two more HAWK launchers and missiles;
  • The United States has announced $400 million in additional commitments to support Ukraine, including missiles for the HAWK air defense systems – a complement to what Spain has committed. The $400 million package also includes other air defense systems, along with ground systems such as up-armored Humvees, grenade launchers and additional HIMARS ammunition as well as lots of other pieces of equipment;
  • K. to train another 19,000 Ukrainian troops next year;
  • Sweden to deliver $287 million package of assistance to Ukraine, which includes an air defense system;
  • Canada to provide CAD 500 million in assistance, remaining one of the lead donors of winter gear;
  • Germany has advanced much-needed donations of air defense, artillery and MLRS ammunition;
  • Greece announced an important donation of 155-millimeter ammunition;
  • Poland has committed additional artillery and tank ammunition, as well as short-range air defense capabilities.

“We were meeting today as Russia continues to target Ukraine’s civilians and bombard its energy grid, but Russia’s deliberate cruelty only deepens our resolve, and we’ll continue to support Ukraine’s bedrock right to defend itself and defend the rules-based international order,” the Secretary of Defense said in his opening remarks. “Ukraine’s troops continue to consolidate their gains on the battlefield as they head into the winter, and the contact group continues to push hard to bolster Ukraine’s air defenses in the face of Russia’s ongoing barrages.”

He also said he was pleased to report the very impressive performance of the NASAMS air defense systems that the United States sent to Ukraine are now operational. “The NASAMS systems had a 100 percent success rate in intercepting Russian missiles,” he said.

According to Gen. Mark Milley, the mission of the group is to “support Ukraine as they counter the illegal and unprovoked Russian aggression and to continue to supply Ukraine with the capabilities necessary to defend their sovereignty.”

“This is a war of choice – it’s a war of choice for Russia. They embarked on a tremendous strategic mistake. They made a choice in February of this year to illegally invade a country that posed no threat to Russia. […] In short, they wanted to overrun all of Ukraine, and they lost. They didn’t achieve those objectives. They failed to achieve their strategic objectives and they are now failing to achieve their operational and tactical objectives,” Milley said.

He added that Russia started this war and can end it.

“Russia can make another choice, and they could make a choice today, to end this war. However, Russia is choosing to use their time to attempt to regroup their forces and they are imposing a campaign of terror, a campaign of maximum suffering on the Ukrainian civilian population in order to defeat Ukrainian morale. As Ukraine continues to fight, air defense capabilities are becoming critical for their future success. An integrated system – an integrated air defense system, an integrated air and missile defense system, is what is necessary as Ukraine repels Russian aerial attacks.”

Milley also referred to U.S. President Joe Biden’s words, saying that “it’s up to Ukraine to decide how and when or if they negotiate with the Russians, and we will continue to support them as long as it takes.”